Tag: society

A Letter Concerning Toleration

I have wanted to post this for a long time. But recently it seems like it’s imperative. It’s not a short read…or an easy one…but it is a damn good read regarding toleration. Why? …Because he’s one of the most conservative religious figures in history…and yet he’s speaking/arguing in favor of tolerance. Not in half-baked ambiguous rhetoric, but using both logical argument as well as biblical verse forms what’s considered one of the renowned arguments in favor of religious tolerance ever. There are of course a few points that arent covered in this letter that are addressed in later discourse, but a lot of the logic is still pretty sound.

A Letter Concerning Toleration

by John Locke (1689)1

john_lockeHonoured Sir,

Since you are pleased to inquire what are my thoughts about the mutual toleration of Christians in their different professions of religion, I must needs answer you freely that I esteem that toleration to be the chief characteristic mark of the true Church. For whatsoever some people boast of the antiquity of places and names, or of the pomp of their outward worship; others, of the reformation of their discipline; all, of the orthodoxy of their faith; for everyone is orthodox to himself; these things, and all others of this nature, are much rather marks of men striving for power and empire over one another than of the Church of Christ. Let anyone have never so true a claim to all these things, yet if he be destitute of charity, meekness, and good-will in general towards all mankind, even to those that are not Christians, he is certainly yet short of being a true Christian himself. “The kings of the Gentiles exercise leadership over them,” said our Saviour to his disciples,” but ye shall not be so.”1 The business of true religion is quite another thing. It is not instituted in order to the erecting of an external pomp, nor to the obtaining of ecclesiastical dominion, nor to the exercising of compulsive force, but to the regulating of men’s lives, according to the rules of virtue and piety. Whosoever will list himself under the banner of Christ, must, in the first place and above all things, make war upon his own lusts and vices. It is in vain for any man to unsurp the name of Christian, without holiness of life, purity of manners, benignity and meekness of spirit. “Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity.”[2] “Thou, when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren,” said our Lord to Peter.3 It would, indeed, be very hard for one that appears careless about his own salvation to persuade me that he were extremely concerned for mine. For it is impossible that those should sincerely and heartily apply themselves to make other people Christians, who have not really embraced the Christian religion in their own hearts. If the Gospel and the apostles may be credited, no man can be a Christian without charity and without that faith which works, not by force, but by love. Now, I appeal to the consciences of those that persecute, torment, destroy, and kill other men upon pretence of religion, whether they do it out of friendship and kindness towards them or no? And I shall then indeed, and not until then, believe they do so, when I shall see those fiery zealots correcting, in the same manner, their friends and familiar acquaintance for the manifest sins they commit against the precepts of the Gospel; when I shall see them persecute with fire and sword the members of their own communion that are tainted with enormous vices and without amendment are in danger of eternal perdition; and when I shall see them thus express their love and desire of the salvation of their souls by the infliction of torments and exercise of all manner of cruelties. For if it be out of a principle of charity, as they pretend, and love to men’s souls that they deprive them of their estates, maim them with corporal punishments, starve and torment them in noisome prisons, and in the end even take away their lives ; I say, if all this be done merely to make men Christians and procure their salvation, why then do they suffer whoredom, fraud, malice, and such-like enormities, which (according to the apostle)4 manifestly relish of heathenish corruption, to predominate so much and abound amongst their flocks and people? These, and such-like things, are certainly more contrary to the glory of God, to the purity of the Church, and to the salvation of souls, than any conscientious dissent from ecclesiastical decisions, or separation from public worship, whilst accompanied with innocence of life. Why, then, does this burning zeal for God, for the Church, and for the salvation of souls ; burning I say, literally, with fire and faggot ; pass by those moral vices and wickednesses, without any chastisement, which are acknowledged by all men to be diametrically opposite to the profession of Christianity, and bend all its nerves either to the introducing of ceremonies, or to the establishment of opinions, which for the most part are about nice and intricate matters, that exceed the capacity of ordinary understandings? Which of the parties contending about these things is in the right, which of them is guilty of schism or heresy, whether those that domineer or those that suffer, will then at last be manifest when the causes of their separation comes to be judged of He, certainly, that follows Christ, embraces His doctrine, and bears His yoke, though he forsake both father and mother, separate from the public assemblies and ceremonies of his country, or whomsoever or whatsoever else he relinquishes, will not then be judged a heretic.

Show 1 footnote

  1. Reviewed from Popple’s translation




How the Mighty Are Falling-Is our IQ really falling?

Seriously…are we getting dumber? Our kid’s IQ is worse?!

Just thought about something, our IQ’s and education…

The Roman Empire survived well over a thousand years by reinventing themselves as the center of civilization, and in it’s venerable years, the center of control for the Catholic Church, which in its later years was actually for more powerful than the empire itself. I mean we’re talking like 1700 years. that’s 3 times longer than almost every other government in history (that we have real documentation of). They were among the most educated people on the planet for their time. Many many great thinkers were a part of the empire and contributed to it’s success. The idea

Now the U.S., we’re just a little over 200 years in and barely cohesive. UK isn’t much further and isn’t much better off. I see countries that invested heavily in their education system may have lived a little poorer, but are now completely showing us up. What’s worse is I feel like we’re ignoring it. We have these half-assed programs that are supposed to have a huge impact on our educational system when we’re completely ignoring the fact that we haven’t been adequately educating for decades.

What does it take to get people to see the problem here?


The article above is saying that for the first time in our existence, the average IQ of next generation in the US will not be smarter than the previous generation. How the hell does that happen? Is our education system so poor or entrenched that we cant reverse this trend? How is it that people in charge of our education system didn’t see this coming?

TonyTown - Hold No Virtue - IQ - Education in Finland might be getting it rightThis scares me. I mean, what happens in 20 years when it’s our kids in charge? I mean personally I haven’t actually seen examples of this per se, but wow how does this pan out?

By the same token, I’ve been reading about the “Flynn Effect” where our IQ’s are showing an increase, but because the generation gap is statistically affected by relative age this notion is less severe than the media it portraying. The problem in this is that most of the statistics are showing that we are not keeping up with systems in play throughout the rest of the world. However this same idea would also depict our great grandparents as being mentally retarded by today’s standards of intellectualism. So is the beauty of the increase is in the eye of the beholder? Do we have to stay competitive with other nations or continue on our path to creating a huge division in our population intellectually?

On that note, I REALLY love what has been done in Finland. They have made education a positive part of their society rather than a problematic half successful tax on their population. I put some links below if you’re interested in reading them.

/rant over.

LINKS
Great Article on where we are educationally from the ETC blog.
Article about the Flynn Effect and details on this from Smithsonian.com
Why are Finland’s schools so successful?
Heavy Details on why Finland’s education system works so well.
Another article on differences in Finland’s Education System




Everything in extremes…

Everything was awesome today…but extreme acts in other places make much it harder to feel good about.

After what was nothing short of an extremely awesome day for me today, I was so busy that I didn’t pay attention to the news…and then once I did, I obviously found it drastically disheartening to hear about the tragedy in Aurora last night.

Of course every political machine on the continent is now using this tragedy as a platform, and it makes me think.

It’s as if we’re given the impression that our sense of security is an illusion.
It’s as if we’re given the clear means with which to feel secure.
We hear about upcoming laws and acts that will take these away.
We’re pummeled with the idea that our rights can and will be taken away.

But when it comes down do it…it just seems like everyone has been programmed to react to this instead of actually choosing.

I would like to point something out…the minute you allow another person to determine your rights, you’ve forfeited them already. With the uncertainty and revelation of having such a level of self-autonomy, the real effects of social responsibility and accountability shines clearly.

Every living being knows the difference between right and wrong. Every single one. Unfortunately, the power of the human mind is such that it can muddy moral waters so much that convincing ourselves to commit horrible acts is only one violent movie away from tragedy.

Do I think the movie was involved with it? Hell yes.
Do I think the movie caused it? Hell no.

To hold blameless the obvious relationship is definitely ignoring part of the problem, but not in the context that “the movie did it”. That’s just stupid.

But then how do we “fix” the problem? The deranged lunatic could have just as easily used a far more insidious and indefensible means…so regulating the weapons isn’t going to work. Regulating the movies will not work, as the movie companies will simply make the ratings even less useful, and the theaters will not enforce them anyhow.

I honestly think that the only method in reacting to this type of problem proactively is in education. Where we not only teach but believe in them, an idea or value prevails. We already have all the laws in place we need, I think now it’s time people we taught to value those boundaries. If we’re going to be a society of gun-toting self-autonomy fanatics…we must impress upon ourselves values that will give us the mental fortitude not to walk into a building full of defenseless people and take life indiscriminately.

Why do I phrase it like that?…because not clarifying that there are situations where defending one’s self and loved ones is entirely appropriate.

We praise an industry that glamorizes the violent and immoral.
…and place blame on the individual that succumbs to it.
We render judgement on the mind that no longer knows better.
…and hold blameless the society that fostered the mind.
We dispute the tools of war we all now lovingly bear…
…pray continually that we all are lucky enough to never have to use them.

To me, this is living in fear. I do honestly uphold everyone’s right to keep and bear arms, but do not feel that everyone has the moral and mental fortitude to keep and bear them responsibly. In their gambit to glamorize violence, the film industry now teaches children the basics of stealing cars, the basic rules of stealing without getting caught, the idea that what happens in those movies is not only possible, but probable or certain.

We’re talking about a guy that planned all this. His apartment was wired with so much explosives that the news implied it could have taken out several of the apartment buildings. Why did he chose that venue? More importantly…what happened that he felt this was necessary?

This tragedy makes me wish I knew more about and had greater faith in people, because then I might be aware of and maybe stop whatever it was that caused that guy to feel this was necessary…

-T